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New Exhibit Taps into Museum’s Vast Nautical Flag Collection

Thursday, February 16, 2023 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes (NMGL) is proud to introduce a brand new online and micro exhibit—Waving Through Time: Flags of the Sweetwater Seas. This 2-part exhibit highlighting commercial and recreational flags on the Great Lakes has  launched Part 1 today with a focus on the Great Lakes Industry. The online exhibit will feature six different series of flags that have helped commercial vessels thrive on the Great Lakes and throughout North America. 

“We are excited to tap into the National Museum of the Great Lakes’s vast collection to highlight the navigational symbols and house flags whose passage through our Sweetwater Seas helped build the world we live in today,” shares Carrie Sowden, the museum’s Archaeological and Research Director who also oversees the organization’s installation of temporary and micro-exhibits. 

“From company logos and signal flags to yachting association celebratory flags—we’re exploring their history and significance all year long,” continues Ring Lardner, NMGL’s Collections Coordinator who is the exhibit’s primary curator and researcher. “This spring, every couple weeks through April, we will introduce a new series of flags online who have helped Great Lakes commercial vessels thrive. Additionally, in mid-March, individuals can visit the museum to see some of the historical flags featured in the online exhibit through installation of an accompanying micro-exhibit meant to expand their stories and highlight related artifacts that further showcase their significance.”

Waving Through Time: Flags of the Sweetwater Seas will be available online for individuals to interact with all year. Part 2: Recreational Boating, will launch this fall and also feature an online and micro-exhibit—turning the exhibit’s focus on flags that have helped recreational sailors showcase their identity and communicate. 

To access the exhibit, visit nmgl.org/wavingthroughtime. The museum also encourages individuals to follow @NMGLToledo on social media and sign-up to receive emails to be notified throughout the year when each of the 12 new series and accompanying micro-exhibits launch.